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Biomedicine sector to be expanded in Shanghai

China Daily Updated:2021-11-10

Blueprint details how government actions will help foster cluster with 'global influence'

The Shanghai government will boost the growth of its biomedical industry during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25) in support of China's continued efforts toward high-quality development.

According to the city's industrial development blueprint, a world-class biomedicine industrial cluster will be established in Shanghai with an annual industrial output value projected at 180 billion yuan ($28.11 billion) by 2024. Development will be reinforced in the four related sectors of innovative medicine, high-end medical equipment, advanced biomedical equipment and materials, and outsourcing services.

In the next few years, more infrastructure will be built to consolidate development in the biomedical industry to go along with continued support for innovation and the encouragement of commercializing successful research results.

The concept of going green, digital and smart will be emphasized, according to the government, and more incubation and accelerator programs will be created.

Biomedicine development will be promoted in Shanghai's Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone, as well as in five other regions scattered across the city and some smaller characteristic industrial parks. The goal is to optimize an industrial layout with the characteristics of being "developed in Zhangjiang and produced in other parts of Shanghai", according to the city government.

Shanghai is one of the most influential biomedicine innovation hubs in China, and boasts a complete industrial chain, abundant innovation resources, strong innovation capacity and plenty of interaction with global biomedical communities.

In 2020, the overall industrial output value of the biomedicine industry in the city exceeded 140 billion yuan, and a large number of breakthroughs have been made in fields including anticancer drugs and the development of medical devices.

Shanghai is home to six national-level and 17 municipal-level clinical medical research centers. Eighteen of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies and 17 of the top 20 global medical equipment developers have established research and development centers, manufacturing bases or headquarters in Shanghai.

The national-level Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone is the core pillar for the city's rise to a biomedicine hub, according to the government.

The zone is home to more than 300 national-level R&D institutions, with more under development by top domestic universities, such as Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The annual output of the biomedicine industry in Zhangjiang hit 110 billion yuan in 2020, accounting for 78 percent of the industry's total in the city.

The demonstration zone has become the biomedicine development center of Shanghai with an international appeal. The number of innovative biomedical enterprises exceeded 1,000 by the end of May.

Financial support for biomedical enterprises operating in the zone is easily accessible. An industrial park in Fengxian district, for instance, has received Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone special funds worth 640 million yuan since 2012.

The Lingang Special Area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Pudong New Area is expected to be another gathering hub for biomedicine companies in the next five years, with the whole industry projected to be worth 80 billion yuan by 2025, according to officials.

The Shanghai government has sustained its efforts to improve the business environment, encourage long-term growth prospects and create ample expansion opportunities for enterprises.

Denmark-based biomedicine company Novo Nordisk established a new branch in Lingang during the fourth quarter of 2020. It had more than 500 employees at the branch by the end of July.

Zhou Xiaping, senior vice-president at Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals and president of the group's operations in China, said the company will take advantage of Lingang's reform policies to expand its business in the country.

Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, president and CEO of Novo Nordisk, said he was confident about long-term growth in the country.

"I will take 'innovation' as the shared word for both Shanghai and Novo Nordisk," Jorgensen said. "Shanghai shows strong determination to build itself into a science and technology innovation center with global influence and has ensured strong support for implementing innovation. We are encouraged by the city's solid steps and achievements in sci-tech innovation, especially in biomedicines."

Zhou Xiaolan, global executive vice-president of Bayer Pharmaceuticals and president of Bayer Group China, said, "In Shanghai's new five-year plan, biomedicine is defined as one of the three leading industries, demonstrating that Shanghai recognizes the importance and potential of biomedicines and reflecting the government's forward-looking strategic vision."

With its first pharmaceutical production facility launched in Shanghai in 1936, Jiang said Bayer now has eight manufacturing and product supply sites across China and Shanghai is where the group's China regional headquarters is located.

"Shanghai will remain the home of our China regional headquarters, where our management team oversees the entire China business operations for Bayer," he said.

"We will continue to innovate and deliver more products and solutions to the China market, in a bid to contribute to the nation for its Health China 2030 and Rural Revitalization strategic objectives.


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